It is rumoured that the highly anticipated iPhone 5S will feature a sapphire crystal capacitive touch home button incorporating a fingerprint scanner, Taiwan sources familiar with the matter have informed Technews (via Macotakara). A couple months ago, Technology Review suggested Apple might soon replace the Gorilla Glass, the durable material from Corning used to make screens on iPhones.
If the information from the Taiwanese supply chain sources is correct, Apple will dump the physical home button and replace it with sapphire crystal, a material which has a hardness second only to diamond. With this move, Apple would be replacing one of the unreliable components currently used on iOS devices and protect the button from scratches and ruining the fingerprint scanner, the sources say.
Considering Apple’s product release patterns and the (possible) S-factor (not X), the news of dumping the physical home button and replacing it with sapphire crystal and Apple starting to replace the Gorilla Glass display with sapphire crystal, (which apparently costs $40 instead of $3) is unlikely. But this could be a feature of upcoming Apple products.